The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: The Last (Poetry) Week

Well, friends, it all comes down to this (week). I have exactly 72(!)
hours before I have to turn in a copy of my thesis to my thesis  
advisor and readers. And since every creative ounce of my soul has  
been sucked out and dropped into my book, I have decided that the  
best thing to do for you–in lieu of an actual blog entry–is a poem.  
Poetry–as many of you know–is the long way to say I love you or I’m  
sorry or actually, I kind of made out with your cousin but it didn’t  
really count because we were on a cruise ship. So here is a poem I’ve  
crafted for all of you entitled “A Modest Plea,” which will probably  
be set for publication in the Paris Review sometime in early 2010.  
I’ll return to twice a week ramblings next week.

A Modest Plea
By Kevin Alexander
Dedicated to: My Thesis.

Why, when I write
You, do you not sound better?
Are you Mad at
Me? Is it because
I called you Thinly Veiled
Pseudo-Clever
And At Some Points
Rambling?
Or Superficial, Lame and
Filled With
Grammatical Issues?
I apologize.
I didn’t mean those things
I was just trying
  to be
self-deprecating
in front of that chick.
This Week
If you don’t mind
it would be cool if
You got, like,
Good?
But Seriously
No Pressure

Even if I can’t comment on them, your comments are keeping me half-
way sane.
1988 endures.

Got to have,
Faith

George Michael

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27 thoughts on “The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: The Last (Poetry) Week

  1. Jackie Stroud-Painter

    Kevin,
    I read your article on blogging and it changed me because I didn’t really do it before but since I am trying to be a published poet that I thought that I would start writing one. Since then I post all the time on Myspace and love it. My writing comes through when I post. I tell about my good days and my bad of writing and when things happen for me. When I know that people see what I am saying that my message is coming through. I am writing the best that I have ever written right now and I feel like there maybe hope for me. I am on a site called Triond trying to get people to see my work. But I think that I am a better writer because of my blogging and I think that people read it because they know that I always have something to say. So I wanted to thank you for that and let you know that I hope in the next six months that I will be submitting to a publisher for consideration. Thanks for the help and the boost.

  2. Kevin

    If you got, like, good… Love that line. (-;

    I actually came here today to check out the blog you wrote about in your June 2008 WD article. I laughed all the way through that article… great work! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Oh… and I guess I wanted to get the full effect and check out the man sniffing flower photo.

    Thanks for the new reading material. And good luck on your thesis.

    Kevin, a new fan.

  3. Tom

    That’s what I was wondering.

    How ’bout now?!
    Now?
    Or now?

    We’ve gotta be hittin’ the closer here pretty soon. He’s defending it today, right? Or is he just finishing the final draft to turn in today and defending it later? Slips my mind. Anyway, I hope he posts SOMEthing today after he’s done, although I’d like as not go out and celebrate or collapse rather than give thought to posting a comment on a blog.

  4. Tom

    Hmmm…troublesome. It seems my sense of irony/sarcasm/facetiousness is pretty crappy, as I didn’t make it completely obvious that I was only kidding about the "maybe" portion of you choosing "Faith." Mental note: don’t try to write humor for a living, Tom.

  5. Kevin Alexander

    AHHHHHHHH!

    24 hours.

    Probably not sleeping.

    Words–yours–comforting. Mine–below average.

    Genevieve! Don’t talk to that agent! She’s exploiting your insecurities not unlike the casting agents for the Real World: Hollywood! A good/real one will come along! Why can I only speak in exclamation points!?

    Tom et al: Thank you! And Faith was intentional. 1988 was a fantastic year for symbolism.
    Ok, need to get back. But seriously, you guys/girls are fantastic.
    Fantastic is the only adjective I’m operating with right now, apparently.

    I should NOT operate a motor vehicle and/or heavy machinery for at least a week.

    I love you all.

  6. Tracy

    I picked up the latest issue of Writer’s Digest yesterday and just read your This Writer’s Life column about your blogging experience. I enjoy your blog. I’ll be sure to add it to my blogroll. Signed–a new inspired fan 🙂

  7. Tom

    All right, kids, Kev is into his final 24 hours of Thesis Insanity at this moment. Let’s all send him some positive thoughts and encouragement either in our little heads or here on the screen. By the close of the day tomorrow he’ll be deep into (probably liquid) recovery from the whole affair.

    Here’s to ya, Kev. Rock on.

    T.

  8. Genevieve

    Rachel: Funny!
    Tom: to answer your question from before, my nickname is Genny or Gen. Some daring individuals attempt the French pronunciation, but only my Cajun uncles get it right.

  9. rachel rutherford

    Here is a great webcomic to read when you need a break. xkcd.com. You will thank me. 410 comics including a lot of sneakily funny ones, especially involving math, computers, girls, and obsessive behavior that requires counting.

    Just keep hitting "Previous."

    Consider this a care package — like cookies, but more nourishing. And sendable through the cloud.

    rachel

  10. robin

    Kevin;

    You are my inspiration; I look so forward to your blogs to perk up my bleary work day. I too, can’t wait to read your book; could you e-mail to me as soon you’re finished, since then you won’t be that busy? j.k.!!! Dude, hang in there, you’ve got the rad fans pulling for you.
    I’m one of them, even though, since we’re being so honest here, I’ll admit that I’m old (49) and not even really writing yet, still in the dream mode. Still, I hope I count.
    Peace,
    Robin

  11. Shelly

    I agree with Tom that "Got to have, Faith" is a good pick. I also think that "Move Any Mountain" by Shamen (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-o15Xmaz2A)would be a good motivater.

    You must have a good creative song mix in order to push through. When training for an athletic event or sport coaches will yell, "See the wall, climb the wall, conquer the wall." I’m yelling this at you. You will conquer this thesis and find yourslef at the top of the step, pumpping your fists in the air like Rocky (http://ricksflickspicks.animationblogspot.com/files/2007/03/RockyBalboa.jpg).

    For Genevieve: there are plenty of agents in the sea and without a doubt,you will find a home for your book. Just take a deep breath and be thankful that you found out a the dirt on this gal before getting in too deep.

  12. Anna

    For your entertainment

    WORK
    The Center for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically.

    This virus is called Weary Overload Recreational Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever – DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life completely.

    If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises. Take two good friends to the nearest grocery store and purchase one or both of the antidotes – Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) and Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

  13. Sheri

    First-time blog-comment-writer here. [waves shyly] "Hi guys."

    Kevin, I just want to give you a big hug. ‘This Writer’s Life’ has made me smile so many times….it hurts me that you’re so stressed out. I wish there was something witty I could say that would make it all better. I’m usually good at cheering people up. Why, just the other day—Tuesday, the day you posted, as a matter of fact—I cheered my youngest child up. It was his birthday, his 19th birthday. I told him that 19 was the average age of a US soldier killed in Viet Nam. Hmmm. On second thought, he was not cheered much by that. So maybe I should just end this with a simple "Good luck, pal."

  14. Tom

    Genevieve,
    Is Kevin going after illusive women again? I’m so bummed to hear that. I’ve told him they’re no good for him. *sigh* Not that an elusive or even allusive one would be all that great, but either one would be better than that deceptive lot he’s been going after lately.

    Oh, and thanks for the notice on the Jodie Rhodes thing. I had fun looking her up and reading about her. She seems rather hit and miss in her ability to make things happen. I’ve seen that she put together a few deals, but overall she doesn’t sound like anyone I’d like to work with, especially if she starts asking for editing money right up front. I’ve always read/been told that "money flows toward the writer, not away." If they want money to edit a writer’s work straight away, it kind of calls into question their motives for picking you up anyway. I mean, even if they never sell it, they got your editing money, so what interest do they have in taking it any further?

    Tom (who is not going to eat any cookies that are sitting in the breakroom right now)

  15. Kristan C.

    Dude. Who’s the chick? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Secret note to Genevieve: I didn’t realize chocolate chip cookies crumbled over ice cream were supposed to be a special, not everyday, treat. This may explain a lot…

  16. Mindy

    And you said all your creative juices got sucked into the thesis! That poem was quite hilarious and made me smile. Good luck in this final stretch. I’m sure you’ll do a great job.

  17. Genevieve

    I’ve only got a BA, but I watched my mom get her masters and her phD, so I know how stressful this time is for you. I also know that it takes a strong, intelligent person to make it as far as you have. Don’t doubt yourself, Kevin. Bravo on the poem! And when this week is over you have my permission to go on a complete, Bacchus-like binge. Hurl yourself into chocolate chip cookies crumbled over ice cream, my friend! The Nabisco company won’t know what hit ’em.

    As an aside, I heard back from the agent. She said that she loves the characters and that I do a good job of compelling the reader to keep turning the page, but the ending meanders all over the place and I need to pay her to help me with the edits. She said that without the help of a professional "this book will never sell." I did a little research on her and found an entire article that one writer wrote about how crass and shady she was with him. Then I found ANOTHER writer who wrote a blog about how she charged her over $100 for photocopies. The teacher in my writing workshop and a few other writers I know have told me not to go with this woman. One lady, a romance novelist with two books out and who has gone through two agents, said she believes in the saying, "No agent is better than a bad agent." She said that it’s not unheard of to charge for photocopies, but ethical agents frown upon it. Then I found her agency on the Preditors and Editors website with the words "not recommended" written in red letters on the side. This is the Jodie Rhodes Literary Agency, just to let you guys know. It’s depressing. I thought I would be celebrating when an agent or editor was interested in the book. Instead she gives me a creepy feeling. Sigh. But! I’m having the book critiqued by my writing group, and I’m going to keep sending out queries. I’m a little afraid that I’m blowing my only shot, but I’m trying not to let that insecurity run away with me.

    Anyway, reading your blog and cheering you on has reminded me that I need to take my own advice. I’m glad that our commentary is helping you because the world needs good writers out there and you should definitely never give up. Remember that we’re all there for you in spirit (sniffle, hug with sisterly pat on the back, while brushing away classic single tear).

  18. Tom

    This is by far the greatest thing I have ever read in my entire life, and by that I mean funny.

    I feel for you in these final two days, man, and I’m totally with you – much as I can be when I don’t know where you are and stuff. In spirit I’m totally there, and I’ve done a thing or two that I thought I wasn’t going to be able to pull off, so I have some authority on self-doubt, confusion, self-imposed misery, and all things thinly veiled. You’ve gotten this far, you’re in the home stretch, and you’re going to do a great job on it, homie.

    "Faith" is an excellent choice for today’s blog, not only because it harkens back to a happier time before Michael’s arrest, but because of the obvious literal meanings of the word itself and the relevance to your current situation. However, being that you’re a very clever writer-guy, you probably knew that before you wrote it. Maybe you even meant to underscore that meaning with said signoff. You’re just that good.

    And, no, I still have not watched The Wire yet, so quit texting me about it. I’ll send you an appropriate emoticon when all is said and done.

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